Sharon and Pete Crean

 

Sharon and Peter have established the charity “BeyondWater” in East Africa.

 

The charity was founded to alleviate poverty in East Africa through the provision of safe, clean drinking water and sanitation facilities to communities in that part of the African continent.

 

BeyondWater has as its founding principles one of community development and the provision of self-sustaining solutions to bring about empowerment. It achieves its aims by engaging with local communities to assess need, bringing deliverable solutions and education to the point that the charity can exit the project and handed over to local ownership.

 

Peter and Sharon told us how the charity evolved. In November 2007 they lived in Sydney. They were looking for worthwhile projects that they could apply their talents to. They were informed that at least one billion people on this planet of ours do not have access to safe and clean drinking water and another two billion do not have use of adequate sanitation facilities.

 

They looked to see where their talents could be best applied and decided upon East Africa basing themselves in Kenya. This set up a team of volunteers working to alleviate poverty in East Africa. In the 10 years that beyond water has been in existence they been able to give 10,000 people across East Africa sustainable solutions in a way out of poverty.

 

 

How do they do that?

 

They provide deepwater bores tapping into local aquifers, guttering water tanks hand washing facilities toilets and health education programs. These programs are provided in conjunction with the local communities so that they continue once the people who established the program have long left. Pete and Sharon have found these programs work better than the fly in fly out programs that find favour with the much larger NGOs and the United Nations.

 

This is because the fly in fly out programs leave infrastructure which falls victim to the lack of maintenance which occurs when no one actually knows how to use the facilities constructed by these programs. The point of difference between those programs and beyond water is that the infrastructure that is installed is solid and simple with for example boreholes having a lifespan of 25 to 50 years.

 

As well as providing water to communities in the East African region beyond water also undertakes the girl project. This project aims to keep young woman in school by providing sanitary products, soap underwear and toothpaste to enable them to participate when in the absence of such items which we take for granted in New Zealand young woman would spend up to 30% of the time away from school. This project which costs $80 per girl per year gives those young women leadership development career counselling and mentoring skills all done by local women leaders to inspire those girls to achieve scholastic and employment goals. If that doesn't happen the lot of these women is simple destitution and hand to mouth existence.

 

This was a very interesting presentation on a venture that we as a club could consider engaging with.

 

For more information go to www.beyondwater.global

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